So you have a closet full of these-weren’t-supposed-to-be-crop-tops and I-can-sleep-in-this-I-guess commemorative t-shirts from trips you weren’t invited on. My mom did, too. I was recruited to help her sift through clothing during a recent visit home, and we emerged with three garbage bags full of sundry goodies for the Salvation Army. As we worked, we came up with a list of songs to help us cover that crucial distance from discerning to ruthless. These are guaranteed to be effective, so let’s get to it, hoarders.
Scandal, “Goodbye to You”
Those times I wore all these clothes seem so long ago. An obvious choice, but a motivational one. Also, now you know that this song isn’t by Pat Benatar (I’ve been listening to it for years and I still typed “Pat Benatar”).
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Give It Away”
What I got I probably got it from my mama. She loves to buy peasant tops and then pass them to me. And every single one makes me look like a perforated floral circus tent.
Joni Mitchell, “Both Sides, Now”
I’ve looked at this dress from both sides now, from back and front, and still somehow it’s in my closet. I do recall this dress’s illusions, because I was stupendously drunk at the wedding I wore it to, but in the harsh light of day, it occurs to me that I really don’t know this fugly dress at all.
The Beatles, “With a Little Help from My Friends”
What would you do if I wore this outside? I’d pretend that I’ve never met you.
R. Kelly, “Trapped in the Closet”
“God, please, don’t let this man give me any more clothes to put in this closet.” The advantage of this one is that it’s a full-on hip-hopera. If you combine the sections (Chapters 1–12, 13–22, and 23–33), you’re flush with 133 minutes of clothes-sorting time.
Neil Young, “The Needle and the Damage Done”
It’s universally accepted that this song is about heroin use, but I posit the true inspiration for the lyrics has more to do with the piles of embroidered sweaters in my parents’ basement.
The Cranberries, “Linger”
You know I’m such a fool for shoes. Do you have to let them linger? No. No you don’t. Because they smell when it rains.
The Band, “The Weight”
My bag is sinkin’ low and I do believe it’s time to drive it down to Goodwill and take a tax-deductible load off. For free. Just put the load right on them.
Joy Division, “Atrocity Exhibition”
You’ll see the horrors of a faraway place—namely, the blue garbage bag of a prom dress I left in my closet when I first moved out of my parents’ house nine years ago.
The Byrds, “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”
After what you did (to my ass in that photo my “friend” posted yesterday), you can’t stay on, and I’ll definitely feel a whole lot better when you’re gone.
Pearl Jam, “Better Man”
She lies and says that she loves those jeans. Can’t find some better pants. Eddie Vedder almost definitely wrote this about a bad relationship with hand-me-down flannel shirts. Out with the old, in with the new. YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF.
Modest Mouse, “Bury Me With It”
I just don’t need none of that Express bullshit. I clearly cannot be trusted to dress myself, so would you just please bury me with it?
Missy Elliott, “Pass That Dutch”
In the spirit of “How high was I when I bought this? Jesus Christ.” Plus the spirit of sharing!
Prince, “Raspberry Beret”
I have an actual raspberry beret? Give that shit to the secondhand store.